When it comes to migrating IT infrastructure and related services to a system supplied by another company, confusion can result. Enterprise clouds and more traditional outsourcing methods both reflect a business ecosystem that has become increasingly fluid by virtue of corporate connections and key partnerships. It's quite common now for a company to outsource some parts of its technology or operations to an outside provider, as many core business needs are complex and can be better handled by specialists. While these links certainly provide benefits for organizational flexibility and productivity, not to mention the bottom line, a web of associations and intermediaries can also cause accountability and transparency to blur.

Enterprise IaaS clouds are not the same as conventionally outsourced IT, for several reasons. One difference, as illuminated by ZDNet senior reporter Colin Barker, is the cloud's relative youth compared to traditional outsourcing, which has been going on for decades. The age difference actually works in the IaaS cloud's favor, he wrote, as it is uniquely positioned as a radical solution for improving businesses' processes in a way that regular outsourcing cannot. Outsourcing often results in simply moving the process to a different company without altering it. In this way, businesses save on in-house costs, but they don't benefit from a significant change in productivity. By and large, outsourcing still rises and falls based on the effectiveness of human interactions, and an error at one end can still slow down key operations on the other.

The revolutionary IaaS cloud
The IaaS cloud, on the other hand, automates processes, Barker said, which increases productivity by removing the variable human element. Businesses can be held back more than they realize by inefficiencies that develop in their basic IT systems and applications that create subtle domino effects as they influence more facets of IT departments and organizations. Corporate IT personnel shouldn't fret about being displaced by the cloud, as cloud immersion won't follow in those footsteps of outsourcing, either. Rather, the cloud can relieve them of basic duties and give them more flexibility and opportunities within the organization.

The benefits are so clear to many businesses that they are worried about their current outsourcing contracts keeping them from experiencing greater benefits in the cloud. Barker reported that many companies have not yet capitalized on placing IT resources in the cloud because they're hampered by outsourcing contracts. Ultimately, moving a high percentage of IT out of the company is inevitable, according to InformationWeek contributor Deepak Khosla. Organizations will always vie for solutions that make them more profitable. Enterprise IaaS clouds and automation help companies shed many day-to-day concerns and free their attention to focus on the future.